2021 World Series of Poker 2021 MSPT Venetian

Player of the Week: 15-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth

The path to Phil Hellmuth's fifteenth World Series of Poker bracelet wasn’t easy.

An instructive bump in the road happened on Day 3 of the Main Event when Hellmuth was all in preflop with the {a-Spades}{k-Clubs} against Jans Arends's {a-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}. After the board came {8-Spades}{6-Hearts}{4-Spades}{3-Clubs}, he was in prime shape to double up.

The river was the {9-Hearts}.

Hellmuth grabbed his stuff, slathered a smile onto his face, and stalked out of the Thunderdome. His bad beat capped off a lackluster summer of five minor cashes, health problems, and the ire of the poker community. All over Vegas — in the Wynn, the Bellagio, the Venetian — people were cheering when Hellmuth busted.

The collective ire was in response to Helmuth’s profanity-laced tirade and an altercation with James "Camby" Campbell.

"I was completely out of line," Hellmuth admitted. “It felt like such a low point in my career.”

After a rough night's sleep and some reflection, Hellmuth decided to make amends. He texted with Campbell and bought him into next year's Main Event. He felt better. With the roughest part of the WSOP behind him, Hellmuth entered Event #71: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em (30-minute levels).

Hellmuth: "It’s been the swingiest week in my life."

From Busto to Bracelet

After surviving Day 1 of the fast-moving tournament, Hellmuth returned with 38 others for Day 2. He outlasted a tough field that included Liv Boeree, Chance Kornuth,Grayson Ramage, Griffin Benger, and Jeremy Ausmus and prepared for a heads-up match with Steven Wolansky, who enjoyed a 3:1 chip lead.

The pair battled back and forth until Hellmuth was an all in with the {k-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds} against Wolansky's {k-Hearts}{j-Hearts}. After flopping a flush draw, a ten on the river kept Hellmuth's bracelet dreams alive. Shortly thereafter, he got all in with pocket threes against Wolansky's ace-nine. When his hand held up, the room erupted as Hellmuth won his fifteenth career bracelet and $485,082.

"It’s been the swingiest week in my life," Hellmuth said. "From people cheering because I busted to, I think, a lot of people cheering that I won.”

Player of the Week: 15-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Phil Hellmuth 101

This bracelet is his first since the 2015 WSOP $10,000 Seven Card Razz Championship and his ninth no-limit hold 'em bracelet overall. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey each have ten. Johnny Moss has nine, Erik Seidel has eight. The victory bumped Hellmuth’s career tournament earnings to more than $22.8 million.

"It's humbling," Hellmuth said. He turns 54 on Monday.

Positivity and the Road Ahead

Hellmuth dedicated his fifteenth bracelet to Bill Lee, an angel investor and a good friend. “I promised him I would win him a bracelet. But I promised it a long time ago. I told him he has to fly here to collect the thing. But he's not here!” Hellmuth laughed.

When asked about what a fifteenth bracelet meant to him, Hellmuth grew serious.

"It means everything to me, because my life is poker, number one. Number two, I'm trying to spread positivity to the world. I want to be remembered in two ways: one, for having 24 bracelets, and two, for starting the positivity movement and having a lot of influence on people's lives. Every day, people tweet me and say: 'I've read your book, and it changed my life.' That's what I want. The spotlight that I have becomes a responsibility."

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